Dead at the border with Belarus

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Von: Florian Naumann

Are Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko planning new pressure – and new suffering – on the Belarusian-Polish border? © Montage: Imago/Zuma/Itar-Tass/fn

A serious crisis continues to smolder on the Belarusian-Polish border, largely unnoticed. “The situation is critical,” says the IPPEN.MEDIA request from the Bundestag.

Berlin/Munich – In the summer of 2021, the devastating humanitarian situation on the Belarusian-Polish border dominated the headlines – those in power Alexander Lukashenko according to many observers, had deliberately used migrants as a “weapon”. With the Ukraine war the topic has almost completely disappeared from the German media.

But the problem is far from solved. Most recently, Lithuania extended the state of emergency in the border region. And new difficulties and human suffering might also threaten around the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Warning voices come from the SPD in the Bundestag, among others.

Lukashenko and Putin continue to cause border fears: “Critical situation on the border with Belarus”

“The situation on the border with Belarus is tense and critical,” said development politician Derya Türk-Nachbaur from the Chancellor’s Party IPPEN.MEDIA upon request. “There is no question that the Belarusian government is taking advantage of this fragile situation,” she warned. This applies regardless of the fact that the situation on the Belarusian border has recently receded into the background.

SPD MP Derya Türk-Nachbaur in the Bundestag.
SPD MP Derya Türk-Nachbaur in the Bundestag. © IMAGO/Sebastian Gabsch

There can actually be no talk of relaxation: According to of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, four dead refugees were found in the Belarusian-Polish border area in February. The Grupa Granica association spoke of 37 deaths and 300 missing since the beginning of the crisis.

There are also reports of harsh measures taken by the Polish border guards, such as repeated “pushbacks”. According to official information, a German was also expelled from the country because she is said to have passed aid packages through the fence into the border strip. The website reported this notesfrompoland.com. The incidents might illustrate the enormous pressure on the border with Belarus – and the tension between themselves Russian and Belarusian destabilization attempts to resist and to protect human rights in which Belarus’ neighboring states are moving. However, Poland’s government has already made a name for itself with an anti-immigration course.

Kaliningrad: Situation on Russia’s border with the EU ‘worrying’

“If necessary, we will consider further measures,” explained Türk-Nachbaur IPPEN.MEDIA. overlooking the EU-Belarus border. But she also turned her attention to Kaliningrad. Some time ago, the Russian state agency Interfax reported that the city’s airport wanted to attract airlines from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. The International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) warned Vladimir Putin may also want to “instrumentalise migrants as a weapon”.

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Türk-Nachbaur assessed the overall situation on Kaliningrad’s borders as “worrying”. “The Polish government is currently building an electronic border fence there,” she reported. The situation will be closely monitored.

Concern regarding the Suwalki Gap: Poland and Lithuania want to arm themselves on Belarus’ and Russia’s borders

But there are also concerns in the Baltic States for other reasons – with a view to possible military plans by Russia. Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak recently reported on the construction of so-called “armoured hedgehogs” on the border with Kaliningrad. Lithuania sees itself even more threatened. Only the 80 km long “Suwalki Gap” separates Belarus and the Russian exclave.

Lithuanian ex-military Vaidotas Malinionis demanded, according to a report des Senders LRT most recently common defense arrangements with Poland. A largely unprotected border might make it easier for Russia to march through, he warned. According to LRT, Poland is already planning to station a military unit the size of a division near Kaliningrad – also to be able to defend the Suwalki Gap if necessary. In The Bundeswehr should also have a permanent presence in Lithuania. (fn)

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